Instilling a Love of Learning: How Teachers Inspire Readers for Life

For most of us, our love of reading started with our teachers. Keep reading to look back on the fond bookish memories teachers have fostered!

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A teacher reading to a class of young children.

People who enjoy reading tend to be more curious about things than people who don’t read. Reading, even just for fun, can still teach us so much, and this leads to us wanting to learn more. That’s probably why teachers encourage their students to read a lot: to learn, to grow, to be curious. I know that without my teachers, I probably wouldn’t love reading and learning so much.

Reading Books to the Class

Not only is this a great way to introduce new books to students, but young children are much happier to listen to the teacher read a book than give a lesson. No notes to take, nothing to memorize, just listening to a story. Plus, reading books to students helps improve comprehension and makes it more likely they will want to read on their own.

Delighted children looking at their teacher as they read a book.

If they really like the book, some students might want to own a copy, and if it’s a series, they may want to read the whole thing. For example, so many of my childhood books were ones my teachers read to my class. And I never would have gotten into Sammy Keyes if my third-grade teacher hadn’t read Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, which piqued my interest in mystery books.

Letting Students Read

This one is probably obvious, but it’s true! So long as there isn’t a lesson going on, teachers should just let students read if they want to. (Though that’s never stopped most of us, I’m sure!) This could be during lunch or recess, or if they’ve finished their work early, etc.

Three young children reading 'Harry Potter' books.

I was — almost — never punished for reading if there was nothing else to do. So, to me, it cemented the idea that not only was reading all right, even if my classmates thought I was weird, but it seemed encouraged by my teachers. After all, it kept me quiet in a class full of noisy students!

Letting Students Choose

This ties in with the above point, but letting students choose what to read makes it more likely for them to actually read the book rather than just use SparkNotes. Even if it’s only a choice between five classic novels with challenging language, students will still be more excited at the choice than a forced assignment.

Two little girls standing in front of bookshelves.

This is also a great way to read books you might have not read otherwise. For instance, I might never have read Pride and Prejudice, and enjoyed it despite the archaic language, had it not been one of the book options for my AP English class in high school. It got me interested in Jane Austen’s other works too, so I consider it a win.

Trips to the Library

Going to the school library may be boring for some students, but for us bookish people, it’s such a delight. All those books are just waiting to be read and are about so many topics that there’s something for everyone. Letting students free and looking at whatever catches their eye is an almost fool-proof way for them to end up checking out at least one book.

A library with tables, bookshelves, and magazine racks.

Also, letting students go to the library when they want — again, so long as it isn’t during a lesson or disrupting class — will only encourage them further. I took so many trips to the library during quiet time in class that I practically had the place memorized. The best part? Having the freedom to go so much only made me want to go as many times as possible, even if part of the reason was I felt cool and responsible for getting to leave class by myself.

To the teachers who encouraged reading: thank you. We have never forgotten you!

To read an article about the Bookstr team talking about the teachers who inspired them to read, click here.

For some Bookstr team book recs, click here!